The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) on Tuesday said that there was no breach of constitution in the nomination of Prof. Mahmood Yakubu as the commission’s chairman for a second term.
INEC National Commissioner and Chairman, Information and Voter Education Committee, Mr Festus Okoye, in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja, said that the reapportionment satisfied all constitutional requirements.
Okoye, making clarification on some media report about the appointment, said that it was within the constitutional power of President Muhammadu Buhari that nominated Yakubu and as well forwarded his name to the National Assembly for confirmation.
Okoye said that the appointment of national and resident electoral commissioners as well as the chairman of the commission was the exclusive responsibility of Mr President, adding that such an appointment was subject to confirmation of the Senate.
Okoye said that the endorsement by Nigerians and expression of satisfaction by the international community that trailed the reappointment of Yakubu was an indication that INEC was in a safe hand.
“Yakubu has instilled courage, dynamism, and professionalism in the running of the commission.
“He is a believer in constitutionalism and owes absolute fidelity to the rule of law and due process.
“The expectation is a speedy confirmation of his appointment.
“The Senate is made up representatives of the people of Nigeria and will give vent to the wishes of the people of Nigeria.
“We are confident that all constitutional and statutory requirements have been met and will be met in the appointment and confirmation of the chairman,” he added.
Asked if the commission’s operations were being affected by the chairman’s absence, Okoye said that going by the foundation of team work built by Yakubu INEC, operations were going on smoothly.
“The commission is made up of 12 national commissioners and the chairman making it 13.
“Presently, there are six national commissioners remaining and definitely the work is enormous but we have the capacity and the courage to cope with the challenges.
“Yakubu ran a collegiate commission and each national commissioner has at one time or the other acted in the absence of the chairman.
“We are, therefore, familiar with the office and its demands and we are determined to live up to expectation.”
On the relationship between INEC and the National Assembly, Okoye said it was cordial adding that both institutions were working together to improve the nation’s electoral system.
Okoye said that INEC had made some recommendations to the National Assembly on the amendment of the Electoral Act and the alteration of the constitution.
“We are confident that these recommendations will be favourably received by the National Assembly.”
Okoye said that INEC was committed to deepening the use of technology in the electoral process through a professional and intellectually-driven commission.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Yakubu is still awaiting the confirmation of the Senate, following his nomination by President Buhari on Oct. 27, for a second tenure.
Yakubu on Nov. 9, handed over the affairs of the commission to a National Commissioner, retired Air Vice Marshal (AVM) Ahmed Mu’azu, pending the confirmation of his second tenure.
NAN reports that Yakubu, at a brief handover ceremony at INEC headquarters, said it would be inappropriate for him to remain in office beyond Nov. 9, last day of his tenure, without Senate’s confirmation of his second tenure.